What Are the Risks of Having a Water Birth?

Water births are very popular among women. Some are for them, and some are against them. 

When choosing a water birth, one tends to opt for a relaxing and soothing environment, and they are usually accompanied by family and midwives. A lot of dedicated centers have opened since this method gained more traction. 

Like with any other thing, there are pros and cons to water birth. Although this method is by no means pain-free, a lot of women who have done it believe it is an incredible experience that they will never forget. 

What Are the Risks of Having a Water Birth?

Requirements

Not everyone can have a water birth, nor should they. There are some strict criteria as to who should consider it. 

For a safe water birth, the pregnancy has to be smooth with no complications. The mother’s blood pressure should not be high, and the position of the baby should also be head down. 

Some pregnancies require close monitoring, and that cannot be done when water birthing. Talking this through with a gynecologist and obstetrician is the best way to decide.

If you are unsure if you have a high risk pregnancy, take a look here.

Infections

One of the risks that should be taken into consideration when opting for a water birth should be that of an infection. There is no way that the water is completely sterile

Even if the necessary steps have been taken prior to the birth, once the mother sits in the bath, she will automatically contaminate the water with discharge and flora. This cannot be prevented and can cause damage to the newborn baby. 

Babies are created to take their first breath of air when they are born, not ingest water. This means that when they are being delivered, the chances of them drinking the water they are born in are high. 

Midwives are trained to get the baby out of the water as soon as possible. This is to prevent and minimize any risks of infection. 

Meconium Aspiration 

Meconium aspiration usually occurs while the fetus is still in the womb. When stressed, they tend to gasp and inhale amniotic fluid and the meconium in it. MAS, or meconium aspiration syndrome, is more often seen in long and hard deliveries. 

This causes respiratory problems, and trained people are usually able to tell if this is happening when the water breaks. Due to the green and chunky texture, this is easy to spot. 

Immediate access is required by a doctor. The water birth is stopped when this happens. 

Pneumonia 

Even if the numbers are not exact, this is still one of the major risks of water births and can in some cases lead to death. The temperature of the water can affect the outcome of the birth. It should not be lower than 95° F or higher than 100° F.

The baby should never be left in the water for more than a split second. The first signs of pneumonia can be seen within the first 24 hours after the baby was born.

This is usually caused by the meconium, fecal contamination, and bacteria that it is found in the water. Some reported cases show a link between infant deaths and water births because of the ingestion of the water the babies have been born in.

Drowning 

This is one of the most obvious risks of water births. Wherever there is water, there is always a chance of drowning. 

Everyone is well aware of this, and the facts are always accepted prior to the delivery. Medical staff and midwives have improved their techniques and try to get the baby out as soon as possible to minimize any risks. 

In order to do this, they try to place the baby’s head as high as possible so that when it is brought into the world, it can get as much oxygen as it needs without inhaling water.

What Are the Risks of Having a Water Birth?

Summary

With anything that we do, there are risks. Water births have their fair share of them. 

If the mother opts for one, she has to take into consideration everything that can go wrong and decide if the risks are worth taking. This method can bring ease and soothe a mother, but it could also cause damage to the newborn. Here is more about what you should know when it comes to pregnancy.